EL PASO — UPDATE:
Canutillo School Board members wrapped up the first round of interviews in their search for a new superintendent. Board members are selecting the finalists looking to replace Dr. Damon Murphy who was fired in December for orchestrating a cheating scheme in that district.
Board President Armando Rodriguez said the district is moving forward with the process so that they can get past the scheme which was tied to the state-mandated TAKS test.
Canutillo ISD spokesperson Gustavo Reveles said the Texas Education Agency did not sanction the district, but did issue a plan of action. The district has a year to implement it, and they have to check in with the TEA on a monthly basis.
State mandated STAAR testing is being administered at all Texas schools this week, including Canutillo High School where Murphy's cheating scheme happened. Reveles said the district is monitoring testing very closely.
"We are providing extra help to help campuses monitor testing and make sure that all tests are conducted according to state law," said Reveles.
After holding several community meetings, Reveles said the community wants an honest leader.
"They want someone that's going to put kids first and put academics first and they want someone with ethics," said Reveles.
It is clear that the person who is selected to lead the district will be someone willing to shine a light on the good things happening.
"It's going to be a lot easier for the new superintendent to help provide that new culture in Canutillo of big expectations," said Rodriguez.
A total of 74 people applied to be Canutillo's new superintendent. The board narrowed it down to seven candidates. The interviews will continue at a meeting on Tuesday evening, and a third on Thursday.
Rodriguez hoes to select two or three finalists by the end of the interviews. It will then take at least another three weeks before a new superintendent is named.
The Canutillo Independent School District has scheduled three special meetings this week to begin the process of selecting a new superintendent.
Board members will begin the first round of interviews during a closed executive session at a meeting that begins at 5:30p.m. Monday. The interviews will continue at a second meeting on Tuesday, April 2 at 5:00p.m. and a third meeting on Thursday, April 4 at 6:00 p.m.
The Canutillo ISD has been searching for a new leader since December when the board unanimously voted to suspend Dr. Damon Murphy's contract after an internal audit found cheating.
An audit by the Texas Education Agency released in March found that foreign students' grade levels were manipulated so that they would not have to take the state mandated TAKS test in 2010 and 2011.
In January, the district hired the search firm Proact to help with the search for a new superintendent.
NewsChannel 9 will have a crew at Monday night's meeting. Check KTSM.com for updates.